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Philip Rivers Had the Worst Day Ever

And if you don’t believe me, just ask him:

Philip Rivers somehow channeled Tony Romo on his team’s final drive against the Chiefs Monday. With the game tied at 20 and under a minute left, Rivers fumbled the snap from center. There were 48 seconds left and the Chargers were at the 15. They had the game in hand. It was their victory. And then Rivers somehow mishandled the snap and the Chiefs ended up winning the game.

It’s a microcosm of Rivers’ season. After putting together MVP-type seasons the past three years, Rivers has inexplicably struggled this season. He went without throwing a touchdown pass for the second time this season, and he recorded his fifth two-interception game of the year. He only had two of each all last season. It’s been an awful year for him, and there is no clear reason why.

Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates May be Best Aerial Combination in Football

When Vincent Jackson decided to hold out from the Chargers, most people figured quarterback Philip Rivers would rely more heavily on tight end Antonio Gates during the season. Even with that knowledge, I don’t think anyone could have predicted the duo would get off to such an incredible start.

Through four games, Philip Rivers is third in the NFL with 1,328 passing yards and second with nine touchdown passes. Tight end Antonio Gates has caught six of the nine touchdowns and leads all receivers and running backs in touchdowns scored. Gates is second amongst tight ends with 24 catches and first by far with 386 yards. He’s averaging nearly 100 yards receiving per game and 21 of his 24 catches have gone for first downs. Only one other player (Brandon Lloyd for Denver) has as many catches of 20 or more yards this year (they both have eight). Gates is dominating like few other tight ends have and is on pace for the best offensive season a tight end has ever had.

TOP QUARTERBACK-RECEIVER TANDEMS IN THE NFL

    > Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates: 24 rec, 386 yards, 6 TDs, 21 first downs
    > Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne: 33 rec, 456 yards, 2 TDs, 25 first downs
    > Matt Ryan to Roddy White: 32 rec, 362 yards, 2 TDs, 18 first downs
    > Joe Flacco to Anquan Boldin: 27 rec, 355 yards, 3 TDs, 19 first downs

As much as A.J. Smith was ridiculed for being the “Lord of No Rings” after not signing Vincent Jackson, it sure looks like he knew what he was doing. Smith signed Gates to a six-year $39.8 million dollar contract in the off-season and Rivers to a seven-year $98.25 million extension last year. He’s not cheap, he just knows who his real MVPs are.

Norv Turner: Injury Report Manipulator

Wednesday it was announced that LaDainian Tomlinson was pulling out of the Pro Bowl because of his knee injury. Later in an interview with ESPNews Tomlinson said the severity of his knee injury should have been explained more to the public so that he wouldn’t have been criticized by analysts the way he was. Turns out Tomlinson has a sprained MCL — not that we’re doctors here. The point, as I discussed with my pops the other day, is that Norv Turner actually is one deceptive mofo. Follow me for a second.

For two weeks in a row, All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates was listed as doubtful with a toe injury. Both against the Colts and Patriots, Gates was doubtful after hurting his toe against the Titans. Doubtful means just that — doubtful to play, like 25% chance. Most guys who are listed as doubtful during the regular season don’t wind up playing. About half of questionable guys play, and most guys who are probable play — just as the words would indicate. Moreover, Philip Rivers was doubtful as well for the Patriots game with a partially torn ACL. Both Gates and Rivers played. Now LaDainian Tomlinson, despite his knee injury, wasn’t even on the official injury report for the Patriots game. He lasted what, three plays? So get this — Gates and Rivers are doubtful, but they play the entire game. Tomlinson isn’t even listed as being injured, yet he gets replaced in the 1st quarter. What does that tell you?

If you put this all together, you come to realize that Norv Turner totally played the fans, the media, and pretty much everyone else except the Patriots. He absolutely manipulated the injury report. He got everyone to believe that Rivers and Gates were the problems and that Tomlinson was OK. He made everyone think the running game would be the focus and that the passing game wouldn’t be working. Au contraire, mon frere. It was actually just the opposite. Instead, Rivers came out looking like a hero, and Tomlinson an absolute dud. Norv Turner is indeed a master manipulator. And yes, he’s a heck of a lot smarter than we all thought.

Injury reports courtesy of Rotoworld:
LT’s recent injury report
Philip Rivers’ recent injury report
Antonio Gates’ recent injury report

Philip Rivers Is One Tough Mofo

A few weeks ago I was sitting here bashing Philip Rivers for opening up his big mouth during a game against the Broncos. My contention was that Rivers had no right to be running his mouth the way he was. I still believe that. But one thing that Rivers did not have before, which he officially has now, is my respect. Come to find out that those reports last week saying Rivers had an ACL tear were actually true. The mofo had his knee scoped Monday and played Sunday. With a torn ACL.

Philip Rivers’ anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee is “totally gone” and he will have reconstructive surgery soon.

The recovery time for the surgery is not known but Rivers said he definitely will be 100 percent by the start of next season.

Reading this sort of report and seeing photos of Tom Brady in a walking boot Monday makes you really appreciate what those guys do out there on the field. And don’t think that Rivers and Brady are the only ones who nutted up — Gates played with a dislocated toe, and I’m guessing mostly everyone else had to be shot up or something before the game because of their painful injuries. These guys have some serious guts, and Rivers is chief among them. And man, he actually played pretty well all things considered.

Tomlinson Getting Hurt Helped SD

After Darren Sproles took the swing pass from Rivers for a touchdown, and Turner ran for 70 yards as an injury sub, the issue became prevalent. My Dad inferred that maybe it wasn’t all LT — maybe it’s the Chargers’ line. I’m not so sure about that since Tomlinson has been doing it for like 7 years with different lines in front of him and no passing game to work with, but there’s something to be said about the way the Chargers played without Tomlinson against Indy. Brian Baldinger made a bold statement on the radio this week saying the Chargers were better off and helped by Tomlinson getting hurt. On the surface that sort of comment is ludicrous; how could last year’s MVP leaving a game improve the team? Then you start to realize that maybe the defense dropped a few men out of the box to defend the pass and that Sproles made a play LT wouldn’t have, allowing San Diego to win the game.

Sure the Chargers are probably better off with LT in the lineup, but just remember that when he’s not out there, it’s not like the team is only lining up 10 players — the Chargers have many other players who can capably fill the holes. That’s probably why we’ve seen the Giants be successful without Jeremy Shockey; Eli’s been looking at Amani Toomer as his secondary target and Toomer’s made plays. Yes, San Diego will be hard-pressed to win if Rivers, Gates, and LT are banged up, but they won’t be out of it. Just remember that the Chargers probably wouldn’t have won last weekend if their MVP hadn’t been hurt. And as weird as it initially sounds, it actually makes sense.

Champ Bailey Puts Rivers in His Place

RiversI totally whiffed on this story from the weekend, probably because I missed all the games and highlights. Philip Rivers was caught on camera jarring with Jay Cutler late in the 4th quarter of San Diego’s easy win over Denver. Just like Signal to Noise wrote, Rivers has no place to be talking trash in a game. Sure, if it gives you an edge as a player, more power to you, but we all know that Rivers is not one of the top players in the league and hasn’t earned the right to talk smack. Funny enough, that’s exactly how All-Pro CB Champ Bailey feels:

“And I don’t really care for the guy, first of all,” Bailey said of Rivers. “He’s not a respectable guy right now because you talk too much trash and do this and that, but you’re really not a great player in this league right now.

“You’re surrounded by great players, but you’re not a great player. I think he needs to understand where he stands in this league – where he stands on his team first and foremost.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Didn’t we go through something quite similar when an unknown from the Steelers guaranteed victory against the Pats? The parallel isn’t that Rivers is an unknown, rather, that Rivers should know his place in the league. Take away Gates and LT and we’ll see how well Rivers compares to Cutler as a QB.